How to spring-clean your phone
10 ways to keep your phone fighting fit.
Chinese New Year is almost here and it's time to start spring cleaning. But whilst you're dusting those curtains, painting that windowsill and sweeping behind that cupboard that you haven't moved since last year, don't forget to spruce up your smartphone too. Follow these few simple housekeeping rules below to make sure your phone is running as fast and as smart as possible…
Ditch your old apps.
We downloaded over 25 billion apps last year but studies show that most of us only regularly use three on a daily basis. If you've got pages of old apps that you haven't used in years, you're only clogging up your hard drive and slowing down your phone. Or if you do like to hoard your apps, keep them organised in folders on your home screen to make navigation smoother. But basically, if you're not using it, lose it.
Manage your photos and music.
Take a look at your capacity settings and you'll see that music and photos take up the bulk of your hard drive. If you're using cloud-based music streaming like Apple Music or Spotify, there's no reason to keep all your albums saved on your phone – and even if you are relying on downloaded content, you're still not going to be in the mood to listen to 256GB of music in one sitting. Likewise for your pictures - spend some time deleting all the duds and archive the rest onto a cloud service or an external hard drive. You don't need every photo you’ve ever taken in your pocket.
Our phones are a lot smarter than most of us realise. If you've got multiple email accounts, a work calendar, a family schedule and a dozen to-do lists, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by synchronising everything with your phone. Apple's Mail, Calendar and Reminder apps do a great job of bringing everything into one place - as do similar apps (like the Google suite or Outlook) on Android phones.
Sort out your contacts.
Unfortunately, there's no easy way to sort this out - but you can save some time by trawling through the index on a proper computer screen before re-syncing on your handset. Most contact apps also let you sort index cards into groups, which is a great way of making the spring-clean a bit easier next year.
Tackle your inbox.
The inbox is the sock drawer of the phone. Sorting it out might be the task you'll put off the longest - but having a tidy email app is one of the best ways to speed up productivity (and make you feel like you've accomplished something!). Whilst you're sorting messages by date or type, remember to move anything useless into junk so you don't see it again - and unsubscribe from unwanted marketing newsletters.
Delete the cache.
Your internet browser wants to be as fast as possible - and one of the ways it tries to do this is by storing a bulk of website data on your hard drive for easy access. The problem is, the more you browse, the more data gets stored. Empty the cache every now and then to wipe the slate clean - this frees up space and gets rid of any unwanted cookies.
Try the “big movie” trick.
If you've got an iPhone and you're still running out of storage, here's one last trick you can try before deleting anything you'd rather hang on to. Open the iTunes Store app and find a really, really big movie to rent (The entire Lord Of The Rings Trilogy in HD is a pretty good bet), one that takes up more room than you've actually got. Hit “rent” (don’t worry, you won’t have to pay for it) and your phone will tell you that you haven’t got enough space to download it. What your phone also does at the same time (without telling you), is to clear out hundreds of megabytes worth of useless app data to try and make room, automatically giving you more space and less clutter.
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